Musical.ly: Five things parents and volunteers should know about the app
Musical.ly continues to be a very popular app with youth, and it’s important for adults to have a basic understanding of it.
According to “Teens, Social Media and Technology Overview 2015” by the Pew Research Center, nearly three-quarters of teenagers 13-17 have or have access to a smartphone. With the high access rate to smartphones, it is important for adults to be aware and understand the different applications youth will download on to their smartphone.
Musical.ly is a very popular app for youth and is in the top group of apps download from Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Musical.ly is a video social network for creating, sharing and discovering short videos.
Michigan State University Extension has five pieces of information all parents and adults working with youth should be aware of regarding the app.
- Understand why youth are drawn to Musical.ly. They love the ability to create their own videos to music and share them on their profile. Youth love sharing photos and videos of themselves, and this is one more way they can do that by creating music videos of themselves.
- Youth can use Musical.ly even if they don’t have a smartphone because it can be downloaded and used on a tablet or iPhone touch. All you need to utilize Musicl.ly and create and share short videos is a device that is on a Wi-Fi network or one that is connected to cellular data.
- When creating a Musical.ly profile, the default setting is public. Adults working with youth should help them change their account settings so their profile is private. This allows them to accept or decline fan requests, and prevents youth from receiving direct messages from anyone who isn’t one of their approved fans. Once a video is shared, it can be viewed, commented upon or remixed by other users.
- There are consequences to your online actions and anything digital can be stored, copied and shared, even if you intend to only share it privately. When you share a video, that content can be screenshotted or copied another way by people who viewed the video—even if your account is private. The video may have been intended for a specific group of people, but that doesn’t stop others from sharing beyond its intended audience. The same common sense that applies to the internet at large applies here—don’t send or share content that you wouldn’t want someone to save or share.
- Talk to youth about how they are using Musical.ly or any other social media platform. Technology changes, apps come and go, and the next in social media platform will come about, but that doesn’t change the basic principles of privacy, security and safety. Adults should continually remind youth that once posted to a social networking platform, nothing ever goes away and it can come back to haunt them in the future.
For more information about helping youth with social media, see:
- Considerations for youth and social networking – Part 1: Having an account
- Considerations for youth and social networking – Part 2: Who to friend
- Considerations for youth and social networking – Part 3: Privacy settings
- Considerations for youth and social networking – Part 4: Sharing photos
- Considerations for youth and social networking – Part 5: What is news?